White House counsel reportedly knew about possible Flynn violations in January

Don McGahn.
(Image credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Confidential documents turned over to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team by the White House indicate that White House Counsel Don McGahn researched both the Logan Act and federal law dealing with lying to federal investigators and warned President Trump about then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn possibly violating both, Foreign Policy reports.

FP's Murray Waas spoke with three people with knowledge of the records and was read portions of the documents, which show that McGahn conducted his research shortly after he was told in late January by then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates that during the transition, Flynn told Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak not to worry about sanctions imposed by outgoing President Barack Obama. Despite Yates' warning and apparently McGahn's as well, Trump kept Flynn for two more weeks, firing him in mid-February and saying it was because Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his Kislyak conversations.

Two people who worked in the Trump administration told FP that McGahn believed Flynn was potentially in violation of the Logan Act, a law that prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments. Flynn pleaded guilty earlier this month to lying to the FBI, but has not been charged with violating the Logan Act. A White House official close to McGahn told FP that McGahn feels as though Trump and others in the administration are using him as a scapegoat; in February, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Trump kept Flynn on because "the legal department came back and said they didn't see anything wrong," a statement contradicted by McGahn's documents, FP reports. Read the entire report at Foreign Policy.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.